Saturday, December 11, 2010

Video worth seeing

Saw this on someone's blog & just could not resist to repost it here.  I had never heard this song before.  Hope you enjoy it. 

Christmas Carol




Christmas came early!!! (part I)

Okay, for those following for awhile, this may be an unexpected post.  Some may remember a "falling out" of sorts awhile back between a family member and I.  I won't rehash it.  Suffice it to say, it had to do with our desire to adopt again.  Well, this is the season about forgiveness and really understanding your faith journeys and what you believe  Jesus stands for.  Maybe we all have been doing a little more thinking lately.  Though I have not quite made up with the one family member, the rest of the family came down and was very welcoming to us.  Felt as though it used to feel when we were all together.  Nice, pleasant.  I hope that next year it can be all of us.  Time will tell.  Thought I'd share a few pictures from last weekend and our early Christmas celebration.  I will have to do this post in 2 to 3 parts most likely.  So, here goes.  I'll tell it through pictures.


Okay, we even got the pups ready for the big day.  Both have Santa outfits.  I swore I'd never do that to my dog but hey, I can't dress a baby, I at least get to dress the pups.  LOL.  Got to admit, they are cute as a button in them.  Alaska doesn't mind, Kota hates it.


I have no idea what Alyona is whispering to Yana.  All the others are starting to get their piles of presents separated.  Was hard for them to wait.


Okay, I just had to post this b/c I think she is just so sweet & innocent looking here.  A rarity for sure.  LOL.  She loves her Mrs. Claus dress.  She wore it today to church too.  Found the dress & a shaw at a local consignment store.  Alyona is ready to start the tearing of the paper.


Do you think Nik is happy w/ his remote control truck??  Or is he happier here w/ this:


A new light saber!  I can assure you that both gifts have been well used.


Irina loves to listen to music.  A new Taylor Swift cd for her.  Frankly, I don't want to hear this again as she has played it over & over & over again.  She also got clothes & jewelry.  


Yep, clothes & jewelry is definitely what you get teenage girls.  


Does Bojan have a clue??  All the kids really enjoyed their gifts.  Lots of wrapping paper.  Nerf guns were a huge hit.  For young & old alike.  


I like this picture.  Call it a sick sense of humor but it truly is what one of my boys would do if they saw the opportunity.  Looks as if Alex is pointing the Nerf gun toward Alyona's behind.  How do I even think one of my boys would do this if given the chance?  Because Alex did it to me today! 

This was part one of Christmas early last weekend.  This was on Saturday morning.  Next part will be Saturday at lunch time.  Stay tuned as much more to come. 

Nik's drawings

Thought it was high time for another remdition of Nik's drawings.  They always make me smile.  Remember, he is either going to be a Stephen King novelist or or need some serious therapy.  LOL.  These drawings are much more tame so we may have turned a corner.  See what you think.


Thought this was cute.  Have no idea why Nik thinks he's king of the world here.  Notice he is the only one sitting at a desk.  The other students are on the floor.  Presents are piled on the desk w/ his interpreter by them.  All the pictures hanging on the wall are detailed gingerbread men.  
This is a picture of CJ, his interpreter.  Got to love that backwards 'C.'


Picture of kids playing outside at school.  His interpreter & other teacher are sitting on the bench together.  Everyone is happy here.  Even the sun.


This is Nik sleeping on the top bunk & Alex on the bottom.  Those things lined up all against the wall are their shoes.  The thing on the right is their dresser.  On top is the fish tank & their soccer trophies.  

See, very, very tame drawings.  Don't worry, I'm sure he'll have Santa in handcuffs w/ Alex in a police car at some point this Christmas season.  He wrapped these up & some more and gave them to CJ w/ a bow on it.  

Today, we went to the church play rehearsal.  Santa came!  I'll have those pictures later.  First, I need to finish the post on last weekends' events.  Got to go.  Need to make Nik a sheep costume.  Off on the hunt for gray sweatpants and a white shirt.  Going to glue cotton balls to it.  Have to also get hopping on Alex's project on Russia as well.  Much more to share.  We unfortunately have something looming over us right now.  Yes, it has to do w/ Bulgaria.  It's frustrating b/c I can't say what's happening on here.  I will definitely, definitely share ALL details once this adoption is through.  Those who have been w/ us through some of these other adoptions I will just say one word and maybe you can guess what's happening here...Stavropol.  Even w/ this much experience, each adoption journey is a roller coaster ride.  And it's not over until the ride comes to a complete stop.  Our USCIS stuff should be a-okay for approval this coming week.  Dossier will be submitted w/ that.  We would receive a travel date shortly after that IF all fees are agreed upon and paid.  I hope that is all cryptic enough & that some of you can read between the lines on here.  What is happening to us is not for the faint of heart & glad it is happening to us versus someone who is new to adoption.  Taking everything w/ a grain of salt.  URGHH!!!  Should have much, much more info next week & will post what I can.  Just know, this is serious & is effecting the adoptions.  Sorry so vague.

Anyhow, life goes on.  Getting things done today.  We were going to go to a Christmas Parade but it is just rainy out.  I don't like cold rain.  I don't really think anyone does.  Especially, some of ours that have temperature regulating issues.  So, staying here now and going to get some things done.  Stay tuned for more. 


Friday, December 10, 2010

A couple of things

Our addendum to the homestudy has been overnighted to USCIS.  They should have it today for sure.  Calling Monday to see how long  before approval.  Everything else is D-O-N-E for dossier submission.  Okay, Monday we'll go get the new homestudy apostilled & sent in.  This is the one that treats IRina as an adult member of the household.  Praying all this is wrapped up and submitted in two weeks time.  That would be awesome for sure as travel would be forthcoming.  Please, please Mr. Immigration officer, be nice to us  & approve it.  Keep you posted. 

Max.  Kept Max home today for a few reasons.  Main one is he really needed his lenses changed out.  Wrong script was really giving him problems.  So, did that.  Figured no sense in going to school at 11 o'clock.  He hasn't been absent at all this semester.  Another biggie is if he went to school, I fear there would have been trouble.  We discovered last night he missed his meds for two days straight.  Checked when I felt he was not himself.  Sure enough, he missed them.  Well, this changes the brain chemistry of our children.   They truly are not themselves if off the meds.  There was no way he'd be able to do what he needed in school today.  Just too risky to have him go.  He's been great here & feel he's stabilized now but that is why he's home.  Don't fear, I've put him to work.  He's realized that the 2 "littles" are a bit of work.  LOL.  He has decided now he wants no children when he grows up.  Now,off to bake cookies w/ them all. 

I will have a post all about last weekend this evening.  Still have to go find Nik gray sweatpants for the show this weekend at church.  He's a sheep.  And, make him ears.  We also have to do Alex's project on Russia.  Going to try & get puppy pictures taken as well at Petsmart.  The folks we got the pups from are going to be there again this weekend. 






It would be great for the rescue people to see just how much they've grown & what they look like now.  Pups are doing fantastic!  No more pooping in the house.  They still pee but much, much less than before.  I left them alone today in the house for about 2 hours.  Left them to the whole house;  did not lock them in the bathroom this time.  (master bathroom).  Pups did just fine.  Nothing chewed up, nothing ruined, and no accidents.  They have learned to sit.  They go outside & can be left alone.  They bark when they want out, bark when they want to come back in.  A few times we've had to go in the woods & get them but not too bad.  They are still learning boundries.  All in all, puppies are doing just fine.  Couldn't ask for better.  Do check out Paw Prints Animal Rescue.  Great pups & still 2 dogs left from their litter.  Would love to see them adopted before Christmas.  And for those wondering, two dogs IS plenty for us.  LOL.  You can see them here:  http://www.pawprintsrescue.org/dogs_puppies.html .  Scroll down and the ones in their litter were Carter and Cline.  VERY good dogs indeed.  Alaska and Kota are wonderful and we truly made awesome choices in the dogs we brought home to our family.  However, knowing how great they are, I would love to find a home for the other two in their litter.  Carter really is tugging at my heartstrings for sure.  I held Cline when we picked out the other two.  He was just as sweet as Alaska.  Let you put him on his back and all.  If you're local, please consider a new puppy if you are looking or thinking about it. 


Church play rehearsal tomorrow morning bright & early.  Come home & pics w/ the pups.  After that, Christmas Parade.  Sunday, Cantata & Christmas Play.  Throw in at least one project that we're aware of.  Busy weekend but I think it's going to be a fun one for sure.  One more full week of school left before they have Christmas break.  Trying to figure out all the lists and what is left to do.  Getting there.  Not for Christmas but schooling and appointments and such.  Time to go try to walk the pups.  This is the area they need the most help on...leash training.  Looks like we're walking a bunch of dying seals flipping around on the road.  Pitiful.  I know it's a matter of time as Aspen and Bear used to do the same thing.  only puppies once so that helps.  Can not tell you how much we love these new little puppies.  Not so little any more.  They are growing like weeds. 

Oh kids' progress reports.  Alex is doing an awesome turn around!  Bojan is doing excellent.  Alyona is doing well.  Weak in math but doing well.  Teacher and I are working on her "bossiness."  Nik is doing fantastic.  Yana had received all B's and then failed history.  URGHH!!!  This is not the report card so she does have a chance to catch up.  She is doing all assignments & getting 100 on them but failing tests.  I'm beginning to wonder if they're following the IEP.  Remember, she has severe, severe CAPD.  She's supposed to have an FM system per docs.  Won't even go there w/ the IEP and what all happened & how she doesn't have one.  Anyhow, will be contacting the teacher to make sure everything is being followed.  It is not for lack of trying, that I know b/c I watch her when she gets home.  Irina is doing well though she doesn't think so.  Max is the one that needs the most help.  Max seems to be where Bojan was a few years ago as well.  I really came down hard on Bojan a few years back & in so many words told him to get his act together.  He did & the turn around was wonderful to watch.  Trying to do the same w/ Max.  We'll see how it turns out.  Teachers agree he is able to do the work.  Hoping by semester's end we'll see a change.  All in all, the progress reports were not bad.  I was impressed by quite a few of them & the path the kids are on.  I was very disappointed in one simply b/c I know he CAN do better.  One of them I think there is more to it and may be a matter of IEP not quite being followed.  Again, going to look into that one as well.  Enjoy the weekend folks.  Last weekend's update to come in next post.  Lots to say & many pics to share.  It will have to be in parts for sure. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Watch ABC Friday Night

Please watch this show.  It's 'What would  you do?"  Apparently, they will have a segment on people drinking while pregnant and how others will react.  It will be very interesting to see if they touch on FAS(fetal alcohol syndrome) at all.  Remember, 6 of ours are effected by it.  Here's a preview: http://abcnews.go.com/WhatWouldYouDo/ .  Just thought this might be interesting though I have no clue what all it will entail.  I'm still amazed that people think it's okay to drink while pregnant.  Blows my mind.  The brain damage they do to the kids is life long.  It never ever goes away.  I'll be watching tomorrow night to see what all it's about.  Plus, I really do love that show as it gets you thinking.  Thought I'd pass along the info.  Good night.  More pics to come tomorrow.  So much to catch up on. 

Sanford & Sons meets Martha Stewart...NOT!

As I've said, this has been an unusually busy week for us.  Okay, so they're all busy.  In addition, I can barely type b/c my hands are red & raw for winter.  Stings to even take a shower.  Happens every winter.  Meantime, it is Christmas time.  Stuff needs to be done.  I love looking at the magazines each year and saying I'm going to do that.  The kids knowingly laugh in the background.  Why?  Because I am no Martha Stewart.  There is not one crafty bone in my body.  Not a one.  About the best I can do is make the paper plates match. It's sad.  It really is.  LOL.  Here is a recent attempt at something I had seen on a site called Bakerella.


Umm, this is not how they're supposed to turn out.  Cake pops they are not.  More like poop pops.  Yep, that's what my kids' called them.  The cake part tasted great.  Gooey but great.  The dipping process...not so great.


Yeh, I wouldn't want to eat it either.  I was trying to be festive.  Umm, no.  I won't even go into the gingerbread houses that still stand to be a running joke in this home.  Oh well. 

Now, I can decorate cakes.  Used to work in a few bakeries and took cake decorating classes as well.  Yet, if I steer away & try to make anything whatsoever different, it always seems to fail.  So, sticking w/ cakes I am. 


I have a hard time even posting a picture like this.  I'm sad to say that this is the state of our backyard.  We tried to make a homemade bike rack from scrap wood but that eventually fell over.  So now, there are 16 bikes that just lay in a pile.  Max built the little cage on the right for helmets and scooters.  It's just a mess.  A storage building is a necessity but hasn't happened as of yet.  It was supposed to happen last year when the gentleman who we gave the car to said he'd bring us a shed after the holidays.  Never transpired.


Just another view.  Horrible, huh?  The no storage issue has become a real problem as of late.  Don't even get me started on the hot tub sitting there not working.  That is a long story.  We can't put anything in the garage as that is going to be turned into a room for the girls.  Temporarily, we'll put them upstairs.  Trying to figure out solutions for all of it.  Not an easy task.  

We'll come up w/ a solution soon.  Have to.  Yesterday was Wednesday & busy.  We had the social worker from DSS come.  Poor woman.  She was really nice but can only imagine what she was thinking coming to Chaos Manor.  BTW, it did indeed live up to it's name.  She pulls in the driveway and Kids are lined up along the embankment looking for the puppies who disappeared into the woods.  A mom came to pick up two of the "littles."  Finally, I tell her we should probably go inside.  Go inside and start talking.  Well, Yana thought now would be the time for me to sign her progress report and inform me that she is failing history.  What?!  That was the first I'd heard of it.  All other subjects are 'B's.  She's done all assignments and gotten 100 on them all.  Yet, failed every test.  Something is definitely up with that and I will get to the bottom of it.  Yet, not the time to investigate as social worker was standing right there.  I resisted the urged to lean my arms out around Yana's neck.  LOL.  Alex then asks what there is to eat.  Acting quickly I said popcorn.  I had this fear of him opening the fridge & the sw seeing what was inside...empty.  Yep, need to go grocery shopping desperately.  After church last night we ran to the store & got salad & spaghetti for dinner.  It was usual Chaos Manor after school including two kids that didn't live here.  There would have been more but told the others to stay away that day.  LOL.  These two don't come over that often.  They came around the corner w/ Yana and Warren said "who are you two?"  Umm yes honey, that makes us look even better yet to the social worker if you don't know their friends.  At this point, I'm thinking she had to think we're nuts.  However, she seemed really calm amidst the chaos and we even talked openly about RAD and FAS kids and a little about the foster care system.  In the state of NC, you can not have over 5 kids if you want to adopt.  We wouldn't qualify.  We knew that anyhow as we had asked years ago.  Hence, Bulgaria it is!  Anyhow, she was really nice and didn't seem to mind that the boys' room literally looked like a demilitarized zone.  We had just removed an area rug that was covered in puppy poo.  It was a shag rug and there was just no way to clean it.  All in all, I think it went okay.  Then, it was immediately off to church play rehearsal.  While there, Warren took Irina to go get shoes.  We try to do two things at once whenever possible as that van is a serious gas guzzler.  And let's face it, it's not getting any cheaper.  

Today we just had speech therapy but she canceled as now Nik's papers are missing an MD signature.  He can not get services until it's signed.  BCBS sent something though not sure what.   I need to go over benefits for the new year.  From what I hear so far, not good.  Looks like our insurance will double AND our copays go up.  Copays kill us as it is.  And this year, they'll be 12 of us.  We have great specialists that try to tie things together to help us out some with costs.  Still, it adds up quickly.  For Christmas, I want a Wake Urgent Care gift card.  LOL.  Do you think they make them?  Anyhow, just par for the course.  We go with the flow.  Need to get some kids to make some lunches for school.  Plan on working out tonight once Warren gets home.  That way, he can run interference.  Have a wonderful evening and promise that Thoughtful Thursdays will return next week for sure.  Like I said, just been overloaded w/ some things lately.  Updates forthcoming. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sing your heart out kid

Today is Tuesday.  Very busy day and night.  Irina had a world fair presentation and it went okay.  I say okay b/c she was supposed to bring a cake.  Well, that didn't happen.  Wasn't for lack of trying  but some days things just happen here.  Irina made the cake.  She claims she sprayed it but out of two round cake pans, there is no way one of them was sprayed.  The "littles" dug right in but Irina was ticked off.  I reassured her she wasn't going to fail due to a failed cake.  But, you try reasoning with a teenager with FAS and see where it gets you.  Yep, nowhere.  Hurried everyone up.  They were all too busy looking at the new gift:


My parents bought us a brand new washing machine for Christmas!  We were stunned and extremely grateful.  More on that in another post to come.  Working on it but been a bit busy lately w/ 7 kiddos.

After calming Irina, Warren took her to the World Fair thing at school while I fed the kids.  And got everyone ready for Bojan's performance.  I can't drive at night so Warren dropped Irina off and came back home to pick us up to go to the school for Bojan.  


Killing time.  Nik took my camera for awhile.  Geez, I hope Santa brings him one.  They all did great waiting.  And trust me, we waited awhile before it started.  


More killing of time.  Doesn't Max look just thrilled to be there?  


Bojan, has time to look at the camera.  He sings loud as can be at home yet the entire chorus you could barely here!  Don't know what happened to their lungs but think they got a case of stage fright.  The kids did great, just needed to be a bit louder.  I know at some schools there is audience participation.  It would be great if they'd sing a classic that everyone knew & asked folks to join along.  We used to do that at another one of their elementary schools and it was so much fun seeing the entire room sing Rudolf.  LOL.  


They did a little rap song w/ the reindeer and Ms. Claus.  Very cute indeed.  It was a nice little show & have to admit we have a wonderful chorus teacher here.  As someone who used to be first chair in high school and march in college, I take heart to music.  I admire the teachers who have the gift to teach it w/ such patience.  Mrs. Yohmen is one of those ladies.  Great job everyone!  BTW, Bojan was one of only 6 boys.  There were maybe 50 girls I'm guessing.  You can't tell by the pictures but Bojan was in severe pain tonight.  Foot keeps swelling way up.  He goes back to the surgeon next week.  Doesn't help that the prosthetic is way too small.  He's a trooper for sure. 

Well, I should be cleaning the house but I'm not.  The DSS social worker comes tomorrow.  Hope she's as understanding as our other social worker.  I have 2 puppies and 2 "littles" here during the day.  7 kids come in the afternoon.  Homework, dinner, bath time and whatever else comes up.  There's books all over the floor from where we read today.  Counters in the kitchen look like Chef Ramsey had a fit in there.  Laundry piled up due to the new machine.  You know, life stuff.  I hope she sees it all that way tomorrow and doesn't look for some deeper meaning.  Much more to come once again.  Just know this week is one of my busiest.  Plus, one of the "littles" preschool shut down so she's with me full time during the day for now.  Like it but keeps me on my toes for sure.  Well, today my kids missed the bus.  Hoping to get them going tomorrow morning.  Enjoy your week.  Ours has started off hectic but neat seeing the hard work of Bojan and Irina pay off. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Manic Monday

Can you guess we've been busy???  We had a wonderful weekend with family and that will be a separate post.  Right now, just saying I'm trying to get some Christmas cheer colors up on the blog but I really don't like how any of it is turning out.  May just put up with it for a few weeks though & change it in January for the start of a New Year. 

Well, today we went to the vet.  2 puppies who are not leash trained yet and a just turned 3yo.  Not too bad if I do say so myself.  We walked in and one of the techs says "oh look, a little St. Bernard."  Umm, that's not what we want to hear!  LOL.  Okay, to clarify a few things as the vet did for me.  Both dogs are indeed from the same litter.  Kota has an extra set of dew claws which will be removed during the spaying at a later date.  Alaska has roundworms unfortunately.  Vet said they were most likely passed through the placenta.  Good news is she was dewormed.  Vet went ahead and de-wormed both of them.  She said both dogs looked really healthy & time to bump up the amount of dog food they are getting.  Yikes.  She thought the squirrel incident was pretty funny.  Warren, however, did not last night.  Tell you about it in a minute.  Pups have to go back in 3 weeks.  Vet said Kota looks all golden retriever.  She said she doesn't want to speculate on Alaska yet as puppies of different breeds may look the same when they're this young.  However, she said that she is very interested in how Alaska will turn out.  Her fur is completely different from his.  She said the females will tend to be smaller so I can't compare in that respect...bummer.  Alaska weighs 11 lbs and Kota weighs 13 lbs.  Not much difference for sure.  Even though he seems more solid.  Vet said Kota will indeed be a big dog.  No doubt on that one.  Shoot, she didn't even hesitate when she said that.  All in all, a good vet visit for both.  Can't say they enjoy the car yet though. 

Came home and am a little concerned.  There seems to be a red pickup truck casing the house.  Neighbor noticed it too.  We'll talk w/ one of our cop friends this evening and see what they think.  He does this quite often.  Goes up and down the street and goes extra slow in front of our home.  Today I was just creeped out.  I turned to go down my street and the guy was turning to go out.  I get in the driveway & get the "littles" out and there he is.  So he did a turn around.  I don't get it.  Probably nothing but is just something really, really odd about it all. 

Bojan had chorus today and has his final performance tomorrow.  Irina has a big presentation for tomorrow as well.  Same time of course.  Warren will most likely go to hers.  I'll go to Bojan's.  Hers is further away & remember, I am not supposed to be allowed to drive at all at night.  Severe, severe night blindness.  His school isn't that far & well lit there.  Max will be like my "seeing night dog" in case something runs in front of me.  Hate it but have no choice. 

So much happening here it's not even funny.  Good news is I have finished Christmas shopping for all but Alex.  House is decorated inside but not too much.  2 new puppies are not conducive to Christmas decorations.  So no garland or the like.  They've already chewed some ornaments and the tree.  So next year it should be really festive in here.  We're almost afraid to put lights outside too b/c they love to chew them up.  Feels weird not being all decked out for Christmas but one year won't hurt anything. 

Church did not happen yesterday.  We had relatives here this past weekend and tell you all about it in the next post b/c it will have pictures.  We did get the kids to church play rehearsal at 4:00pm and even manage to take Joy Toys for Jesus in as well.  Bag full of new toys.  Otherwise, I'm sure I'd forget.  Picked them up at 5:30 when they were supposed to.  Dropped the older kids off for Youth group thinking it was from 6:00 to 7:00. Umm, nope.  It was from 5:30 to 6:30.  Felt horrible at first b/c we were in my mind 15 minutes late..7:15.  No, 45 minutes late!!!  Miracle they put up with us there.  Seriously.  What parents do that?!  Anyhow, we were at Mickey D's but it was the people we were with that was the neat part.  Amazing the people that are put in your path.  Warren ended up talking to a couple about a cochlear implant & what may be going on w/ their grandson.  Then I was speaking w/ a lady that used to be a special education teacher AND works in a mental health facility now.  She was wonderful to speak w/ and gave me great advocates to speak to about any of our cases.   She agrees about the uphill battle with the county here and that it's one of the worst for special education.  We knew that though so not a surprise to hear it...again.  Still felt extremely guilty and owe an apology to the youth group leader. 

Much going on tomorrow too.  Wednesday a DSS social worker will be coming out as part of Irina's re-adoption process.  That should be completed soon.  We also have play rehearsal Wednesday evening after she leaves.  Thursday is speech therapy.  Friday is finally a "free" day.  Other than normal stuff.  Saturday is 8:30 am Christmas Play rehearsal and then a Christmas Parade at 3pm.  Sunday is busy w/ the Cantata, and the play.  So, a very, busy week indeed.  I have to find time in there to pick up Max's glasses and get bloodwork for Max and Alex.  Refill meds, etc.  I've got a list but boy, it seems to be growing with each day.  LOL.  Hoping to get caught up by Christmas...maybe.  So, so much to say but that is in another post.  More to come.  But alas, I have paperwork to do.  Immigration and off it goes!